3 of My Favorite Travel Memories

By Mark Wiens 1 Comment
Travel Memories
Travel Memories

Meeting people, observing cultures, experiencing natural beauty, and eating food are just a few of the many things that build memories.

No matter how far we’ve traveled or how much we’ve accomplished, we all have lasting memories.

I was asked to be part of a travel blogger relay.

The idea is for each blogger to share three of their most memorable travel memories then pass the baton on to another blogger who will also share their memories. The longest chain of memories takes gold and has a chance to win a few cool prizes.

So here they are, three of my most memorable travel experiences. Enjoy!

1. Rice Terrace Hiking and Chicken Eating

There are a number of breathtaking rice terraces in the Philippines, and after seeing Banaue, I was addicted to the beauty and decided I had to see more.

Through a friend of a friend I hired a local guy to lead me by foot on a route from Mayoyao to Batad. The trail, an overgrown farmer path, lead through majestic rice fields, across ridges, and through valleys.

Wrapping my chickens
Packaging my chickens

We stopped at my guide’s home village to visit his family and I decided to purchase two chickens from his father in-law to bring to Batad, the village we were en-route to.

The chickens were packaged in a woven basket.

Incredible beauty in the Philippines
Incredible beauty in the Philippines

Despite my poultry squawking manically for the next 12 hours as we hiked, the scenery was breathtaking.

Burning off the feathers from the chicken
Burning off the feathers from the chicken

I was completely drained of energy when we arrived to Batad and my mind was on the chicken we were about to partake of.

The family was just as excited as I, happy we had arrived and excited about the protein rich little treats we had brought as gifts. The father quickly got to work on a local northern Filipino chicken dish known as pinikpikan.

The chicken was flavorful, scrawny and chewy, and the journey, the experience, and the meal shared with the family was priceless.

Hiking in Torres del Paine
Hiking in Torres del Paine

2. Meat in Patagonia

Upon graduating from university I headed to Buenos Aires to attend a 1 month English teaching certificate course. After completing the course, I along with a friend I had met, decided to venture south to Patagonia. A few weeks later we were in Chile, about to embark on a 10 day hiking trip through Torres del Paine National Park.

At that time my desire to see the world was much stronger than my wallet – in other words I had little money to spend if I wanted to continue traveling.

After gathering our final supplies the night before the hike, we planned to go back to our guesthouse and eat huge bowls of oatmeal – cheap and filling.

On the way home we stopped at a steak restaurant and longingly admired the tantalizing display of meat through the window, yet knowing there was absolutely no way we could afford such a meal.

In the midst of our dreamy lip-licking meat daze on the side of the street, the door opened and out popped a motherly looking waitress who had just finished her shift.

(following conversation in Spanish)

“It’s a very good restaurant,” she told us.

“Yah, we are just looking though, because the prices are too high for us (there was a menu pinned on the window),” we replied.

“Would you like to come back to my home for some tea?” was her reply.

15 minutes later we found ourselves in a local Chilean home sipping on cups of hot tea with grandma, mom, kids, and an entire family excited to have foreign visitors.

Tea turned into snacks and snacks into sausages and finally meat filled sandwiches. The warm hospitality from the family to two strangers was remarkable.

Upon leaving we expressed our sincere thanks, and the grandma sent us back to our guesthouse with a bag full of sandwiches for us to take on the hike the following day.

It’s often the best travel experiences that come when least expected.

Furious Rhino!
Furious Rhino (this is a different rhino – no time for photos in the story!)

3. Charged by a Furious Rhinoceros

Rhinos are MASSIVE creatures.

When I was 10 years old my family moved to Kenya.

There we purchased a small car with a manual transmission. Though my father had been driving a stick since he was a child, my mother needed to learn.

In Nairobi, nearly everyone goes to the National Park to learn how to drive – it’s the only place where you don’t have to fight the traffic and be aggressive (well that’s what we thought).

So one day our family went to the game park.

Jump forward, rev, jump forward, stall, engine cut… like a roller-coaster we went.

Then we stopped to admire two rhinos across a ravine posing on the top of a hill. What we failed to see was a massive territorial rhino hiding in the ravine next to where we were.

Seemingly out of nowhere, the rhino came barreling towards our car, like a bus on legs.

“Goooooooooooooo,” my dad screamed.

“Vroooooooooooooooooooooom,” our car leapt forward, my mother managing to balance the clutch and gas in a powerful burst of acceleration while just barely throwing off the line of charge by the angry rhinoceros.

I remember looking the powerful beast right in the eye and my skin shriveling into goosebumps. I saw its horn literally just meters away, meters that saved us from being skewered like a shish kebab!

I hope you enjoyed my travel memories!